Like Father, Like Son? What It Feels Like to Attend College with Your Dad

| March 29, 2023

A father-son duo bond over their shared experience studying construction at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering.

Kyle and Ryan Revale, both currently enrolled at the Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Kyle and Ryan Revale, both currently enrolled at the Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

How would you feel about attending college at the same time – and in the same department – as your dad? Luckily for Ryan and Kyle Revale, the experience has been remarkably harmonious.

Ryan, who has already clocked over 25 years in the construction industry, was prompted to continue his educational journey after his son, Kyle, embarked on an undergraduate degree in the Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) at USC Viterbi. Currently a project manager at Webcor, having started his career in the Philippines as a civil engineer, Ryan had long been contemplating earning a master’s degree and taking the next step in his career. “I was just waiting for the right time to make that transition,” he reflected. “When I saw the experience Kyle was having at USC, that prompted me to do some research – it turned out that the Master of Construction Management (MCM) was just the right program for me.”

Now a sophomore, Kyle has decided to pursue the construction track. So, who followed whom? Ryan and Kyle don’t dwell on the nuances of the age-old question of chicken and egg. More importantly, they’re both inspired by one another. “Making my parents proud is a major source of motivation for me,” said Kyle. “I grew up watching my dad work hard, and he’s taught me so much. That’s part of why we’re doing this together.”

Ryan is proud indeed. The pursuit of higher education – and its practical application – is particularly important to him, not least because his undergraduate degree has always felt somewhat unresolved. “I remember the day I graduated from Bicol University in the Philippines,” he mused. “The day started beautifully – all clear skies – then suddenly the clouds started to gather and then it rained… And it rained. We were all soaked through, and I never had the chance to go up on stage and receive my diploma. I’m still waiting for that experience.”

Ryan later immigrated to the US, raising his family in Riverside, CA, and working for a number of different construction companies. One of his projects was managing a series of field improvements for Los Angeles International Airport, which involved assisting airfield operations with the transportation of the Space Shuttle Endeavor to its current home at the California Science Center. “That’s one of my strongest memories growing up,” said Kyle. “Going to the Science Center on school trips, seeing the Endeavor and being able to say to my friends – it’s here, because of my dad!”

Back at home, watching his father surrounded by blueprints as he studies for his master’s degree alongside his day job, Kyle admits to feeling a little daunted. “Right now, I’m just starting out. Just hitting the books, doing little problems,” said Kyle. “And then I watch my dad tackling much bigger problems – but that’s also what excites me. It’s like he always tells me – no challenge is too big. And we’re the ones who are going to have to tackle it. So let’s go for it.”

Published on March 29th, 2023

Last updated on March 29th, 2023

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